Philadelphia Inquirer - June 18, 1980
Espinosa, Brusstar debut in the minors
Special to The Inquirer
A couple of ailing Phillies pitchers are back at work – Warren Brusstar for Peninsula and Nino Espinosa for Spartanburg, both Phillies 'farm teams.
Brusstar hurled three innings in relief for Class A Peninsula against Rocky Mount (N. C.) Monday night. He gave up a home run among three hits, while throwing 42 pitches, 26 of them strikes.
Espinosa started and went four scoreless innings against the Macon (Ga.) Peaches in a Class A game. He had not pitched in a game since Sept. 23. He gave up one hit and walked none but struck out none.
"They (the Peaches) didn't let me work with them enough," said Espinosa. "Ten or 11 of them swung at the first pitch. The last batter, when I got ahead, I worked him, trying a changeup, then a curve.
"I would have liked to go longer and work a little more, but they (the Phillies) said only three or four innings at first.
"My arm felt good, and I have no pain."
"Overall," said Brusstar after his outing, "I'm happy with the way I threw."
Both pitchers have had vague shoulder-arm problems that club physicians could not explain.
The Phillies decided they needed to work instead of being kept on the bench in the major leagues. So they were sent down to work out the kinks.
"Velocity will improve," said Espinosa, who had little speed against Macon.
"I do not expect to pitch like before right away. I only threw a few curves, and I'm not going to say I have that down yet.
"The main concern was not to have any pain. I was not nervous that I would hurt myself because I have been on the side for quite awhile."
Phillies battle back to top Dodgers
Win, 6-5, on Gross’ RBI hit
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
LOS ANGELES – Dickie Ray Noles threw three gopher balls, a bat and a helmet last night. By the time they all had come down the Phillies were trailing the Dodgers, 5-3. It sure didn't look like the setting for dramatic comeback No. 2 of this West Coast journey.
But suddenly, there was Ron Reed, fanning Reggie Smith to escape a tough bases-loaded mess in the sixth. And then there was Pete Rose, firing the game-tying two-run seventh with his third hit, a bunt single.
And then there was Greg Gross, dribbling his first hit of the year on the road (in 18 at-bats) under Steve Garvey's glove in the eighth. As the ball skidded off the edge of the grass into right, Larry Bowa trotted home, and the Phillies were on their way to a 6-5 victory that belongs on page one of Dallas Green's "Grind It Out Handbook."
"This," said Green, "was a helluva grind-it-out win, I'll tell you."
The win was the Phils' fifth in a row and marked the first time the Dodgers had been swept at home this year. Reed (5-1) got credit for it. But Tug McGraw pitched a no-hit, four-strikeout eighth and ninth to save it.
But maybe the people who attracted the most attention were the umpires. First, Joe West ruled Noles hadn't touched the first-base bag for what would have been the third out of the fifth, at a point when the Phillies held a 3-2 lead.
Then the next hitter, Steve Garvey, pumped one 415 feet to center for a three-run homer. And, one four-pitch walk to Dusty Baker later, Noles was gone. But when he hit the dugout, he heaved a bat and a helmet at West, which ought to at least get him fined and might get him suspended.
"I thought he was OK when he pitched to Garvey," Green said. "He made the pitch he had to make to Garvey. He jammed the hell out of him with that 2-2 pitch, and he fouled the ball off. So instead of a pop fly, he gets another shot at him.
"Naturally, he's upset after the home run. You think you're out of the inning and then you give up a three-run homer. He wasn't very happy about it I'm sure."
Later, after Greg Luzinski and Bob Boone had knocked in runs in the seventh and Gross's pinch hit had put the Phils ahead in the eighth, reliever Bobby Castillo hit Rose on the right hand. Or Rose thought he did anyway. He started for first before home-plate ump Larry McSherry called him back, claiming Rose had fouled the ball off.
After Rose and Green argued their case a while, Rose pounded his bat against the plate and stepped back in to ground out. He trotted to the dugout to the tune of thunderous boos, then shot a famous gesture toward the umpires.
"It hit him on the finger." Green said. "It had to, because Pete never argues unless he's right."
The last time Dave Goltz pitched against the Phillies, he blew a 9-0 lead, which isn't easy. Last night, though, he tried a different plot. He fell behind, 3-0, after an inning and a half, then waited for the Dodgers to storm back.
On the Merrill Lynch list of great investments of the 1980s, Goltz has ranked right up there with Mount St. Helens Realtors Inc. The Dodgers somehow got into a bidding war with themselves over him following last fall's free-agent draft and wound up paying him $3 million over six years. But going into last night, Goltz hadn't won in six starts and was allowing nearly two baserunners an inning.
Goltz kept right on that pace in the first inning. Pete Rose drilled his fifth pitch into center for a leadoff single, then stole second. Since that left first base open, Goltz walked Mike Schmidt to fill it up. Greg Luzinski pumped a single into left, and it was 1-0.
Goltz' second wasn't any more fun. Larry Bowa beat out a bouncer behind second base for a one-out single. The Dodgers seemed to have an inkling the hit-and-run was on with Manny Trillo up, so Goltz made a series of moves to first, none of which accomplished much. Finally, Bowa took off, Trillo chopped a double over Ron Cey's head, and it was second and third.
Goltz got Noles for the second out. But Rose buzzed a two-run single right past Goltz' million-dollar head. 3-0. Bake McBride then singled up the middle, Rose head-firsted it into third and Goltz looked about one batter from the exit ramp. But hang on. He fanned Schmidt with a 2-2 fastball. Third out.
Then things started getting interesting. Noles, whose last start was nine months ago, got one out into the second before the Dodgers began coming back. Ron Cey crunched his ninth homer two rows into the bleachers in left-center, and it was 3-1.
Then the Dodgers put Goltz (single) on third and Rudy Law (single) on second with one out in the third. But Goltz hasn't done a whole lot of baserunning in his life (three career hits), and because of it he had one fewer run to work with.
Reggie Smith bounced an 0-1 pitch to Rose at first. Goltz steamed toward the plate at about 11 m.p.h., so Rose burned it home, Bob Boone had no trouble remembering his last knee operation and stepped aside for the sweep tag. Goltz looked safe on the replays, but he looked out to plate umpire Larry McSherry. Then Trillo snared Steve Garvey's chopper practically on the outfield grass, and Noles was out of it.
But not for long. Dusty Baker opened the fourth by pummeling a breaking ball down the chute for his 16th homer.
Then came the eventful fifth. Noles started it by walking Goltz, which was asking for trouble. Law bunted him to second. But Lopes flied to deep left for the second out. And it appeared Noles had escaped when Smith hit a high chopper to Rose. But Joe West, the first-base umpire, ruled Noles had missed the bag, and Noles went into a funk he never recovered from.
He got to 2-and-2 on Garvey, then hung one. Garvey launched it about 415 feet to center, and it was 5-3. Then Noles walked Baker on four pitches, and Dallas Green yanked him in about two seconds.
Trillo’s problem: His glove and bat can’t vote
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
LOS ANGELES – According to the latest returns from New York, L. A. and Albuquerque, N. M., Manny Trillo trails Davey Lopes in this year's all-star balloting by a mere 801,000 votes.
Since Trillo has eight days to catch up and doesn't think he can round up 802,000 relatives by then, the Phillies' second baseman decided yesterday it was time to make his concession speech.
"I'd say that if I haven't gotten 800,000 votes in two months," said Trillo before last night's Phillies-Dodgers game, "there's a good chance I'm not gonna make it in a week."
The latest returns show that Trillo trails not only Lopes, but also Dave Cash, Ken Oberkfell and Phil Garner. Lopes is hitting .234 and seems to be playing like a man who has swallowed too much smog. Cash was batting .201 last time anybody checked. Oberkfell is on the disabled list.
You can always make a case for Garner. But Trillo is outhitting him (.301 to .282), and while Garner plays in overdrive every second he's out there, Trillo is, simply, the most dazzling defensive second baseman in the game.
What Trillo really ought to be concerned with is not so much that he's not going to start in this game. It's what he's going to have to do to raise his public profile, which apparently is lower at the moment than Duane Thomas'.
Either Trillo is going to have to start doing Seven-Up commercials or he's going to have to convince some body to distribute a few million ballots in Venezuela. Obviously, having great seasons doesn't help.
Trillo, however, remains quite unconcerned by it all. But then, that goes without saying. People talk about Mike Schmidt's cool, but Trillo might be the most unflappable baseball player of the century.
He does admit that "in my mind, I should be first (in the voting)." But he also shrugs, "What can I do? I don't think that for one guy they're going to change the rules."
What the Phillies think he ought to do is go out and put together a last half of this season to match his first two months. That sounds simple enough. But Trillo has accumulated a well-deserved reputation over the years as a guy who historically looks like Rod Carew in May and fades into Rob Picciolo land in September.
"These guys are always kidding me," Trillo said. "They say, 'How come you're the only Latin guy in baseball who likes cold weather?'"
But Trillo said he plans to try keeping this act going. He also hinted it might help if the Phillies stay in the pennant race a while. The fact that the Phils have stayed firmly in the chase so far is not doing anything to hurt their second baseman's motivation, he said.
"I've been diving for a lot more balls this year than I think I have any year," Trillo said. "It's not that I'm losing my range. (Chuckle.) But this year is a lot different than last year. Last year was a very disappointing year for Philadelphia. This year we're in so many close games, I feel like I don't want to give up on any ball."
Even in a game that featured more defensive brilliance than you see in a month in Atlanta, Trillo's diving stab of a Ron Cey rocket in the ninth was the defensive play of the night in the Phillies' 4-3, 12-inning victory over the Dodgers on Monday.
Trillo said that a similar catch he made last July in St. Louis might have been a better one.
"But the one (Monday) meant more than the one in St. Louis," he said. "When I made the one in St. Louis, it was already like the beginning of the end for us."
Monday's catch, and Trillo's game-winning double in the 12th, gave the Phillies their fourth win in a row and fifth in six games. It also moved them to within a game and a half of first place and hiked them seven games over .500 for the first time since last September.
So while Trillo might not be too big among people who punch all-star ballots in Albuquerque, at least he can take some satisfaction in that.